Before I started on my incredible healing journey, I was a left-brained businesswoman and I treated myself as if I was a machine. My approach to life was strictly practical, logical, and rational.
I drove my body day and night as if it was an automobile, with my foot hard on the accelerator. I also subscribed to a mechanistic model of medicine, believing there would always be a scientific solution to any health problem–I just had to find it.
The deadline for all my business writing projects was yesterday–and there was little room for emotional and creative expression in my life.
Then, a wake-up call: A Multiple Sclerosis (MS) diagnosis at the age of 39. It stopped me in my tracks and invited me to get on my butt and figure out who really lived in my body.
But I didn’t get the message for a while. I tried endless visits to one specialist after another, and swallowed a cocktail of prescription drugs every day, in a bid to keep going. But none of these medicines helped. And finally, I was forced to sell my successful management consultancy business and stay at home.
I’d lost a huge amount of function in the right side of my body by then and staggered around like the town drunk. I couldn’t write with my right hand anymore and needed a “procedure” to learn how to write with my left hand. A hypnotherapist I met at a party suggested “Morning Pages” (Thank you Julia Cameron!) and my voyage of self-discovery was launched.
As the words poured out onto the page, I explored my emotional, physical, spiritual and creative (who me?) self in my journal. It wasn’t long before the wounded writer of my past showed up, still alive after all those years, still looking for attention and adoration.
I was freaked out as long-repressed memories surfaced in my journaling sessions. I was not used to acknowledging or connecting with my feelings. It was a shock to realise that the traumatised, shamed child of my past was still living in my body, and the powerful negative emotions of childhood still existed within me. But with more and more and more writing, I knew I was being liberated. And my left-handed writing became legible in no time because I remembered I was originally a left-handed writer but the nuns at St. Bernard School would have none of that!
Almost 20 years of daily, pen-to-paper journaling later, I’m healthier than ever. I now have a second successful business, helping other people to heal and grow through writing therapy. Journaling is not just a healing process–it also re-connects you with your true self and helps you discover your destiny. When I journal, I feel I’m connecting with a power greater than myself and I get the answers I need. And my muse hangs out with me. A lot.
Three years ago, thanks to my journal, I realized I was called to write a book, to share my story and to share how this revolutionary, self-healing process works.
The first draft was a straight memoir, but further insight from my journal (I use her for everything) revealed the book should be a self-help memoir. Each chapter starts with a narrative section as I share my personal story, and then the reader is given some ‘Journaling Power Tips’ to deepen their understanding of the journaling process, followed by ‘Journaling Power Prompts’, challenging writing exercises guaranteed to yield powerful results.
During the book-writing process, I’ve developed my self-compassion and attained an even deeper level of healing. And I’m much more confident in my writing talents and abilities. I knew I’d be able to make it into the Amazon best-selling charts because setting and reaching goals is one of my speciality subjects–I’ve devoted the final chapter of Journaling Power: How To Create the Happy, Healthy Life You Want To Live to this life-changing topic.
It was important to me that I included a summary of all the scientific evidence which has been carried out into therapeutic writing over the past 30 years. There have been more than 300 studies carried out, and the results are stunning. They show that there are tangible benefits for health. People who write expressively visit the doctor less and have fewer symptoms of chronic disease.
Reactions to my book have been heart-warming. Journaling Power has been recommended by top authors including Dennis Palumbo (Writing From The Inside Out), and David R Hamilton (How The Mind Can Heal The Body).
It’s also very encouraging to read the feedback on Amazon.com, and one reader wrote that Journaling Power is “appropriately titled as one of the most powerful tools for wellbeing and creativity you could experience”.
Journaling is this writer’s drug of choice and heals any creative ailment from page fright to inner critics to outer critics.
All that writers need to access journaling’s power are a pen, a notebook, a beginner’s mind and to #WriteON! and #WriteON! and #WriteON!
Mari L. McCarthy is the best-selling author of Journaling Power: How To Create The Happy, Healthy Life You Want To Live and The Journaling Guru at CreateWriteNow.com. She’s created 21 Self-Paced Journaling Courses such as Journal Magic for Writers that have inspired and guided thousands of people to heal, grow and transform themselves through journal writing therapy. Thanks to her Journaling Power Practice, Mari is now a singer/songwriter currently working on her fourth album. Passionate about goals and successful in accomplishing them, like getting the beachfront home she lives in south of Boston, she enjoys raising roses and her consciousness there.